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Re: Comprehensive list of popular dinosaur misconceptions (warning: sarcasm)



Heh heh.  I got a kick out of this list.  I remember being asked about #39 and 
#40 (re the JP frill-necked, venom-spitting _Dilophosaurus_) fairly recently.

One point though...


> 20.    Brontosaurus is a valid name. (Why is
> this a misconception?


Technically (that is to say, in the nomenclatural sense), _Brontosaurus_ is a 
valid name.  It is an available name under ICZN rules.


However, in the taxonomic sense, the genus _Brontosaurus_ is invalid, because 
it the genus is considered a subjective junior synonym of _Apatosaurus_.  This 
is what you meant, I know.  The thing is, as a subjective junior synonym, there 
is a non-zero chance that _Brontosaurus_ could one day be revived as a valid 
genus.  This would happen if _A. excelsus_ (the type species for 
_Brontosaurus_) and _A. ajax_ (the type species for _Apatosaurus_) are 
demonstrated to represent (typify) different genera.  But, as it stands, this 
possibility seems remote.  Based on current material, the two species (_ajax_ 
and _excelsus_) appear to be extremely closely related, and the possibility has 
even been raised that the two could be synonymous at the species level.  


That doesn't mean people haven't tried to resurrect _Brontosaurus_.  Bob Bakker 
made a brave attempt about 10 years ago, by arguing that _A. excelsus_ was 
sufficiently different from _A. ajax_ for the former to warrant its own genus 
(_Brontosaurus_, no less).  Bakker's argument was (and still is) contentious 
(!)  Generic distinction between _Apatosaurus_ and _Brontosaurus_ was 
principally based on a skull that was referred to _excelsus_.  For a more 
in-depth 'take' on this, see...


http://dml.cmnh.org/2005Aug/msg00023.html



Cheers

Tim